Duterte, accused of mass killings, says Israel shares his passion for people

Duterte, accused of mass killings, says Israel shares his passion for people

Duterte, accused of mass killings, says Israel shares his passion for people

He has said in the past that he sees Israel as an alternative supplier of weapons after the U.S. and other countries refused to sell him arms over human rights violations.

Duterte made the statement during his historic visit to the Yad Vashem, Israel's memorial for victims of the Holocaust, in Jerusalem Monday afternoon (Israel time).

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) stands next to Duterte during their meeting in Jerusalem.

Israel sees the four-day tour by Duterte and his top ministers as a chance to thank Manila for taking in Jews during the Holocaust and backing the Israeli independence campaign that followed. "But we also share the same passion of not allowing a family to be destroyed by those who (have) corrupt ideologies", Duterte said, in an apparent reference to drug dealers.

In the same speech that Duterte apologized to Obama, he called the former United State president "cold" and "always at a distance".

Duterte's visit to Israel - the first ever by a Philippine leader - has been controversial, with criticism of the warm welcome the government has given to a leader accused of committing human rights abuses in his brutal war on drugs that has left thousands dead.

Rodrigo Duterte told Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday the conflict in Marawi on Mindanao island "could have dragged on were it not for the very substantial and crucial equipment" from Israel.

Panelo said Duterte "was merely priding himself to the fact that Davao, from where he is from and Mayor for twenty three years, abounds with lovely women and at the same time advancing a theory that their being attractive could be one motivating reason why the rapists sexually abuse them".

Both ministries said that several agreements between Israel and the Philippines are expected to be signed during Duterte's visit.

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Duterte later apologised and said the comments were aimed at critics who had likened him to the Nazi leader.

Duterte and Netanyahu also witnessed the signing of the two countries' Memorandum of Understanding on Scientific Cooperation and Memorandum of Intent on the Collaboration on Promotion of Bilateral Direct Investment.

"What I said is that I do not believe in your God", Duterte said, eliciting cheers from the crowd in a Jerusalem hotel compost mostly of Israel-based Filipinos.

Duterte's brutal crackdown on the Philippine drug trade has prompted global outcry over extrajudicial slayings.

"We remember that the Philippines was the only Asian country that voted for the establishment of the State of Israel in the United Nations resolution in 1947".

Aides say Duterte hopes to regulate labour relations with Israel, where between 24,000 and 28,000 Filipinos work, mostly as care-givers, and to promote Holy Land tourism from the predominantly Catholic Asian country which has been growing by 30 percent to 50 percent annually in recent years.

From Israel, Duterte will fly to Jordan for another official visit from September 5 to 8 upon the invitation of His Majesty King Abdullah II.

The demonstrators gathered outside President Reuven Rivlin's residence Tuesday prior to Duterte's arrival.

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